Why do we have to pay the price for their crisis? When they want to charge us more to get into university and get housing? While they carry on slashing our pay, our jobs and our services. It's time to fight the recession. It's time to take back our future.
London is a unique city faced with unique needs, especially in the economic crisis. It’s one of the richest cities in the world, one of the most unequal and one of the most vibrant. It is also the youngest population in the UK and it will continue to become younger with new people moving in.
Many communities in the capital often have to meet their own needs to cope and get by, often with a creativity and faith that knows no borders.
What makes London different? What unique needs do young Londoners face with the recession? How can we tap into that vibrancy to support people getting together to help each other? How can young Londoners turn this shift into a power shift?
That's why we organised the session on young people at the economic crisis in what was a packed conference just before a really tasty lunch. We discussed and crowdsourced ideas on just that. We also invited a cracking line up of speakers who are organising for young people right across the country:
Noel Hatch - Chair of Compass Youth
Rowenna Davis - Journalist at the Guardian, Independent and Headliners
Sam Tarry - Hope not Hate Organiser and Chair of Young Labour
Nizam Uddin - President of University of London Union
Bell Ribeiro-Addy - Black Students' Officer for NUS
As well as the Mercury Music Award Winner - Speech Debelle!
Unlike other debates, we wanted the audience to be the stars of the show. So we gave the speakers a sharp five minutes to pitch their message to the participants.
@speechdebelle at the conference, must speak for 5minutes about 'young people and the economic crisis..i have notes but...lol
So we got them to get into a dozen groups to discuss what they thought of the ideas put forward by the speakers but more importantly what issues they faced as young people and what ideas they wanted us to campaign on and they didn't fail to deliver:
@josephlaking: At the @compassyouth session on youth unemployment at #ProLondon10 conference - inspiring ideas and pertinent issues being raised.
So what did they want?
Fair pay. Many groups wanted an equalisation of the minimum wage, some even calling for a living wage. They also wanted stronger regulation of youth job schemes, such as apprenticeships and internships.
Better support. Several groups wanted young people out of work to be better supported, from meaningful careers advice to build confidence, travel grants to even creating a union for volunteers and the unemployed. People definitely wanted spaces for young people to reinvest their confidence and skills in, such as summer schools.
Creative investment. With the threat of cuts, groups put forward innovative ways of funding these proposals, such as lobbying companies to use their corporate social responsibility budgets. Others wanted to lift young people out of income tax and remove National Insurance contributions from employers recruiting young people.
As @Fio_edwards summed up “investment not cuts! Let's #invest in the future of this society by investing in young people at #HigherEducation”
Then we asked the speakers to tell us one idea they think we should really campaign on and would be a realistic campaign that could be won.
Rowenna Davis proposed that all internships in the public sector should be paid the minimum wage. Sam Tarry argued that we should equalise the minimum wage for all young people. Speech Debelle championed more civic space. Bell Addy-Ribeiro spoke out in favour of free education, while Nizam Uddin supported the call for a living wage.
@GabriellaJ: Speech Debelle says it's the perfect time for government to invest in young people who want instant success at @ProLondon
@SamTarry Buzzing ideas in @compassyouth session at #proLDN conference on youth unemployment: - hope some radical empowering campaigns come out of it!
@EllieCRobinson great day, esp. the very practical youth session this morning. now let's go out and make some waves
The audience issued a challenge for how as young campaigners can work better together. Ideas are nothing without action. But together we can build the London we want to see. Rowenna Davis has given some tips for how we act in the media, but how do you think we should organise between young campaigners?
Want to get involved in our campaign on youth unemployment All Doled Up. What will you pledge?